I have spent morethan half my life wrestling with bars of steel at insane temperatures. Traditionally, blacksmiths have been trained by being apprenticed to a master-blacksmith, but my skills have been gained by trial and error, as a self taught ‘smith.
In my early days, I was a slave to tradition, until I was introduced to the Art Nouveau architecture of Victor Horta and Hector Guimard, plus large doses of Charles Rennie Macintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright. I was inspired to look outside of blacksmithing, towards all manner of arts and crafts, to steal with my eyes.
I realised that British blacksmithing lacked innovation, so I set about producing work which I would design and make, not from a two- dimensional perspective, but to work in 3-D, to create spacial awareness using the medium of hot forged (hammered) metal. At the same time, I was aware of the difficulties artists were experiencing in using steel as a material for sculpture, due to the need for complex workshop techniques and equipment. So I set about bringing art to blacksmithing and taking blacksmithing skills to art.
I freed myself from the shackles of traditional blacksmithing, in order to create, rather than just make, in the way previous generation of blacksmiths had done.
I wanted to be an artist blacksmith, not merely a technician in metal, to take blacksmithing to a higher level.
I was spurred on by the quotation attributed to Henry Ford ( in abridged form)
“Tradition is bunk, history is bunk! The only history of note, is that which we make today!”